Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas at the Park, December 1964

I wish I had lots more nice vintage Christmas images from Disneyland - just think how many zillions of photos must have been taken by guests during the holidays over the last 59 years!

Even though this one is backlit, it's still neat, with the big tree towering over Town Square. Garlands and wreaths are strung across Main Street, much like the kind you might find on a real city street (years ago, anyway). 

Here's another one of those mysteriously dark photos - somebody needed to learn about f-stops and exposures. The photo is interesting in spite its flaws… look at the crowds in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle! The selective soft focus adds to the dreamlike quality. 

Aha, now we can see why it was so crowded. There's Goofy, the Big Bad Wolf, the White Rabbit, and who knows, there may be a character or two obscured by the mob. I miss the days when characters just wandered around the park; the designated meet 'n greets make sense I suppose, but the sense of surprise is gone. Oh well.


Nanook said...


Ahhhh - the days of 'understated' Christmas decorations at Disneyland. That always works for me, but evidently for few others. It's still just as festive.

Thanks, Major.

Alonzo P Hawk said...

The Main Street photo has a very inviting quality to it.

Good to see Goofy and the Woolf getting their props when the "A" list characters aren't around.

K. Martinez said...

I like the haziness in the first image. The light cast on the Emporium/Crystal Arcade is nice too. Thanks, Major.

Chuck said...

Happy Christmas Eve, everybody!

When does Disneyland start decorating for Christmas these days? At least as late as '94 (last time I was there during Christmas season) they wouldn't do it until after closing time on Thanksgiving, but I want to say I read something recently about decorations going up in October.

I remember being there the weekend before Thanksgiving and seeing the top of the Town Square Christmas tree being barely visible over the top of the backstage parade gate between the Opera House and the empty space that had been the Hills Brothers Coffee Garden. It was all decorated and appeared ready to drag out once the last guest had been shooed through the gate on Thanksgiving. That was the first time I'd ever really thought about what a Herculean effort it must be to decorate the Park overnight for Christmas.

Anonymous said...

Having worked at Hills years ago, I remember that tree arriving before Thanksgiving and being slowly put together and decorated. But the exact date it was 'rolled out' to Town Square...I think it was just before Thanksgiving because the weekend after Thanksgiving the Christmas parade festivities started. Considering the amount of decorations was less than today, the effort to put it all together probably was not as great as now. BTW, the tree back then was real. I think it's artificial now. KS

Melissa said...

Brings back memories of lost fillings and walking pneumonia at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party!

Here's a little holiday gift for the Major and all the folks at GDB, who make every day a little more jolly!

Nanook said...

@ Melissa-

Christmas just wouldn't be compete without a 'special visit' from Linda-! And here she is belting-out some of the great (if yet-to-be-discovered) Christmas "standards" - If only.

Thanks, Melissa. I can't wait until next season so I can incorporate these toe-tapping-tunes into my standard Xmas music rotation-! (Joy to the Small World, indeed-!)

Unknown said...

Merry Christmas and a big thanks for years of work, Major!

Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas, Major, and to all of the GDB gang.

Best to all.


Chiana_Chat said...

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays to the Major, Melissa, Chuck, JG and all the GDB gang! :)

Major Pepperidge said...

Nanook, I love Christmas decorations, but I’d rather see less ornaments, more tastefully done. Others are of the “too much is not enough” rule.

Alonzo, I think I have more photos of Goofy in the parks than any other character. The wolf shows up regularly too.

K. Martinez, I agree, that one has an interesting look to it. Makes me wish I was there!

Chuck, feliz navidad to you too! I have no idea when they start decorating. My girlfriend used to work for the park, and she would be there all night working on New Orleans Square. She said the music and sound effects played all night long, which is weird. But maybe better than having the park dead quiet. Anyway, it definitely took more than one night.

KS, I’ve read about how the old trees (when they were real trees) were altered and improved (with branches added where spots were bare), and then they were flocked (guess that’s fallen out of fashion). I’m sure it was a lot of work!

Melissa, awww, I’m glad that we got “happy Linda” for Christmas! “Lost fillings and walking pneumonia”??

Nanook, I hope I have enough slides to last until next Christmas!!

Patrick Devlin, thank you! Merry Christmas to you!

JG, thanks very much!!

Chiana, I’m always happy to hear from you too, thank you for helping to make this blog more fun.

Melissa said...

I just LOOKED at the tray of candy apples! I didn't even EAT one and a huge filling just popped out. Thought crimes!